Pressure Mounts on Ruto to Send Police Contigence to Haiti, Despite Court Orders
The United Nations (UN) has urged Kenya’s President William Ruto to send a contingent of police officers to Haiti as part of the UN peacekeeping mission, despite court orders barring him from doing so. The UN says that the security situation in Haiti is deteriorating and that more police are needed to protect civilians and humanitarian workers.
Haiti has been in turmoil since the assassination of its President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021, followed by a devastating earthquake in August 2021 that killed more than 2,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands. The UN has been supporting the Haitian authorities and the interim government led by Prime Minister Ariel Henry to restore stability and democracy in the country.
However, Ruto faces legal challenges at home over his decision to deploy 500 Kenyan police officers to Haiti in September 2021. A group of human rights activists and lawyers filed a petition in the High Court of Kenya, arguing that Ruto violated the Constitution and the International Service Act by sending troops abroad without the approval of Parliament and the Cabinet.
The High Court issued an interim order on October 15, 2021, suspending the deployment of the Kenyan police to Haiti until the case is heard and determined. The court also ordered Ruto to recall the 100 officers who had already left for Haiti.
Ruto, however, defied the court order and insisted that the deployment was in the national interest and in line with Kenya’s obligations to the UN. He said that Kenya had a long history of contributing to peacekeeping missions in Africa and beyond, and that the Kenyan police were well-trained and experienced in dealing with complex and volatile situations. He also said that the deployment would enhance Kenya’s diplomatic and economic relations with Haiti and other countries in the Caribbean region.
The UN has backed Ruto’s position and expressed its appreciation for Kenya’s commitment to the peacekeeping mission in Haiti. The UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that the Kenyan police were vital for the protection of civilians, the delivery of humanitarian aid, and the support of the electoral process in Haiti. He also said that the UN respected the sovereignty and the judicial processes of Kenya, but hoped that the court order would not affect the deployment of the Kenyan police to Haiti.
The case is expected to resume in the High Court of Kenya on November 29, 2021, where the petitioners and the respondents will present their arguments and evidence. The court will then decide whether to uphold or overturn the interim order, and whether to issue a final order on the legality of the deployment.